How TikTok disrupts traditional perfume codes

Far from the dreamlike and fantasized universe often put forward by brands, on TikTok content creators talk openly about the fragrance, often with strong opinions, and poke fun at the supposed seductive powers of the juices. They describe with great spontaneity and authenticity the smell, the color, talk about childhood memories, sometimes about history (hashtag #perfumehistory gathers nearly five million views), far from the codes of the category, by making ignoring traditional segmentations and established distribution channels.

Perfume as a visual experience

Video format requires, TikTok brings perfume into a new visual universe with bottles put forward by creators and content creators in permanent competition and totally disconnected from the challenges of brand communication. Primarily found under perfume-related hashtags are videos of reviews of a particular fragrance, highlighting the main notes and the compliments or successes they brought to the creator or creator of the video. There are also a multitude of top 5 and top 10 and all imaginable variations of rankings.

One of the recent trends is to present, in videos, its collection of perfumes: the hashtag #perfumecollection thus exceeds 373 million views! Thus, many users like to transmit their passion for perfume and reveal, bottle by bottle, their collection, or reveal the storage of their collection, with products sometimes classified by color of bottle or juice.

Color also plays a key role in this medium. where you need to capture attention in seconds. In the end, it’s no surprise that TikTok loves red, which gives videos an immediate glow! The bottles of “Lost Cherry” by Tom Ford (18.3 million views), “L’Interdit Rouge” by Givenchy, “Scarlet Poppy” by Jo Malone (11k views) or even “Rouge 540” by Baccarat (194, 3 million views) are thus widely promoted by perfume enthusiasts active on the platform. Hence also the success of perfumes with sculptural and spectacular bottles, such as those of Paco Rabanne or Carolina Herrera.

TikTok Miniatures are also being brought up to date, with 3.4 million views for the hashtag #MiniaturePerfumes. The opportunity for users to highlight the small bottles that are close to their hearts.

TikTok carrier of emotions

The power of the social network also makes it possible to reshuffle the cards in a world where brand awareness is a major asset. Similar to what happens with other beauty categories, a video that has gone viral with powerful emotional content can boost sales of an otherwise little-known fragrance. One of the most famous examples being the sudden success of Missing Person, from the American brand Phlurcreated by influencer Christelle Lim.

On TikTok, unlike most ads, it is the smells and – above all – the effect they produce that are at the heart of the discussions. We talk about the emotions they trigger, the memories they evoke, the substances they make you think of. Perfumery ingredients are more rarely mentioned, except when they stand out frankly and clearly from the fragrance.

TikTok promoter of new practices

The social network has also become an important vehicle for disseminating new practices. The most striking example is certainly that of the layering . Common in the Middle East, this practice – which consists of superimposing layers of different perfumes – has long struggled to spread to other markets.

On TikTokthe hashtag #layeringperfumes now has more than 363 million views, and is teeming with user videos revealing their current associations, such as @rebeccazeidenberg94 which proposes, for example, to combine, for an evening, two drops of Shaghaf Oud, by Swiss Arabian, with a spray of L’Interdit Rouge by Givenchy. The same tiktoker also invites you to combine her fragrances with vintage handbags…

Gen Z looking for dupes

But TikTok not only upsets the category’s traditional communication and practices. On his favorite network, Gen Z is also looking for perfume “dupes” (meaning duplicates, products with characteristics resembling those of other more expensive products). The hashtag #perfumedupes exceeds 114 million views. A large number of videos accumulating tens of millions of views thus compare certain Zara perfumes to much more expensive products from selective perfumery brands.

A trend that can only encourage the common – and often criticized – practice in the world of perfumery, consisting of taking inspiration from successful juices to launch similar fragrances. But on this subject where the boundary is tenuous between inspiration and copying, between comparison and parasitismwhere the industry has for years fought against the practice of concordance tablesbrands are both cautious and suspicious: delighted when they benefit from a flattering comparison, much less when their sales suffer.

However, the enthusiasm for dupes should not lead to believe that investment in innovation, creativity and brand image has now become futile. The adventure of perfume on TikTok above all reminds us of the extent to which emotion is a powerful vector of sales, and that it must above all be based on the values ​​of sincerity and authenticity.

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